Sir, School is out for summer, but convenience stores have their work cut out for them over the next six weeks. In order to prepare for an inevitable leap in footfall and secure their market share, independent retailers need to gain an understanding of the categories and products that are driving sales.

During the school summer holidays, children will typically visit local independent stores for ice creams, cold drinks and snacks as they spend their leisure time outside. With thousands of children and their families shopping for snacks and treats throughout the day, independent retailers need to make sure they are stocking enough of the right products to meet consumer demand.

This busy period is on top of a recession-driven trend of consumers increasing their allegiance to independent stores, to save money and reduce fresh food wastage through more frequent and smaller shopping trips. In fact, the independent sector saw an impressive growth in like-for-like sales of 8.1% in June, moving the annual growth figure up to 6%, according to wholesale sales data.

With an eye on their sales, and indeed those of other convenience stores in the local area, independent retailers can make sure they are not bypassed in favour of a store that has a more satisfying range of products for sale. And, with the right product range, independent retailers can start to maximise the impact of their surrounding sales and marketing activities.

Steve Collins commercial director, SalesOut